FORT COLLINS, Colo. – This year’s record-breaking wildfire season in Colorado is a stark reminder of the need to invest in the health of our forests.
About 10 percent of Colorado’s 24 million acres of forest are in urgent need of action to address forest health, wildfire risk and threats to forested water supplies, at a cost of $4.2 billion, according to the 2020 Colorado Forest Action Plan, released today by the Colorado State Forest Service.
The CSFS Forest Action Plan provides a road map for Colorado’s forests – and in many ways the future of our way of life in Colorado. The Action Plan contains an in-depth analysis of the trends affecting forests in Colorado, as well as solutions and guidance on how to improve forest health and resiliency.
“Our forests are essential to our way of life, and they provide us with priceless benefits. However, we cannot take them for granted,” said Michael Lester, State Forester and Director of the Colorado State Forest Service. “This proactive Forest Action Plan lays the groundwork for critical investments that will enhance the health of Colorado’s forests for current and future generations.”
Rooted in Science, Collaboration
The Forest Action Plan provides a strategic framework, as well as goals and strategies, for improving the health of Colorado’s forests, organized into six themes:
- Forest Conditions
- Living with Wildfire
- Watershed Protection
- Forest Wildlife
- Urban and Community Forestry
- Forest Products
To determine these themes and conduct the analysis for the Forest Action Plan, the CSFS assembled experts and stakeholders from across the state in forestry, hydrology, government and other natural resource disciplines. During a series of meetings with the CSFS and its partners, they set mutual goals for forest stewardship moving forward, contained in the action plan.
“To implement the Forest Action Plan and improve the health of our forests, we’ll continue to work with our many partners and members of our communities,” Lester said. “With this plan as a guide, we can make sure we’re focusing our limited resources to make the biggest impact we can in the areas of greatest need. Our forests help shape Colorado’s economic and social character, so we must invest in them in a strategic, collaborative way, to ensure the many benefits they provide persevere in ‘Colorful Colorado.'”
Data and maps from the 2020 Colorado Forest Action Plan are available on the Colorado State Forest Service website. To view or download the plan, visit csfs.colostate.edu/forest-action-plan.